Licensing policy could change to help attract new businesses to Eastbourne

A council policy which restricts licensed premises in Eastbourne could be removed in an effort to attract new business to the town. 

Monday, 19th July 2021, 3:33 pm
The current CIZ

Next Tuesday (July 27), Eastbourne Borough Council’s licensing committee is set to discuss  the authority’s cumulative impact policy – which restricts how and when new premise licences are approved within the town centre.

The policy (which was first adopted in 2007) means applications within the town centre are not purely considered on their own merits, but rather the impact they would have in combination with all other premises within the area. 

As part of this, applications within the area can be refused unless the applicants can show there is good reason not to.

The policy is being considered as part of a standard review process, but unusually officers are asking the committee to consider whether it should be removed in light of the impact of the pandemic on local businesses.

In a report to be considered by the committee, a council officer said: “Eastbourne has suffered with Covid-19, businesses have been affected and generally footfall has been dramatically reduced. 

“Thus the rationale behind the introduction of a cumulative impact [area] may no longer apply or at least not at this time. If the cumulative impact assessment were to be removed, Eastbourne may attract more businesses into the town and increase footfall.

“The policy could be reintroduced if evidence were provided to suggest this was required. If there is not enough evidence to justify keeping a special policy, it should be removed.”

If the policy were to be removed, officers said, the council could look at introducing new guidelines for licensing applications, which would cover the whole borough.

The council could also just remove the policy and look at adopting it again at a later date.

Alternatively, the council could redraw the boundaries of where the policy applies or just leave it unchanged. 

The report goes on to recommend that the council hold a six-week consultation on how to proceed. The results of this would be considered by the committee before a final decision is put to a full council vote.